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Get the Right People on the Bus in the Right Seats – Talent Shortage in Supply Chain

“It is better to first get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats, and then figure out where to drive”.

James C. Collins


Have you tried to hire a senior supply chain department leader for your company lately? I have, and it is a struggle! Issues arise from not committing to relocate, something in their past company that gives you pause, education….the list is long before you can get to the topic of compensation.


Over the next five years, it is estimated the supply chain industry will need to fill about 1 million new jobs, but where will the talent come from? The supply chain industry is suffering from a lack of available talent for management positions. Companies are looking more and more to outsourcing their entire Supply Chain team or just senior leaders to teach and mentor their young teams. Company's talent shortages are one of the significant barriers concerning controlling input costs and innovation.


Companies also tend to understaff or undervalue "compensation" the supply chain team members. This creates movement, from company to company, it's like a game of musical chairs – you're always backfilling positions. If you're also looking for a high-demand skill set, it can be similar to finding a needle in a haystack. In the restaurant/hospitality industry supply chain in most cases is driving your number one or number 2 cost center. This is not a place to cut corners.


The number of available supply chain positions will continue to swell as the Baby Boom generation continue to retire. Several factors can be blamed for the ever-shrinking talent pool. As companies worked on zero-based budgeting payroll, they distributed the workload on the employees they retained. These individuals honed their skills by having to wear more and more hats to counteract for their lost colleagues. Having survived, those that emerged are even more employable than before, and it didn't take long for them to figure it out.


So, what are the answers to these issues? 

  • If you have a great supply chain leader and team, hold on to them! Make sure your company are leaders in compensation and work environment. Pay is a big one even if the talking heads say it's not. Working from home, flex weeks, and don't forget education perks, to name a few, helps retain the best.
  • You have a great supply chain team, but your leader cannot get them to the next level. Maybe it is time for a change in leadership, or perhaps they need skill coaching. Find out what it is and make corrections. In some cases, you can outsource the leadership position for a limited time and put a plan in place to bring up one of your all-stars with training and mentoring from a supply chain professional.
  • Your supply chain is just not working for you and the company. Significant issues take bold moves. Look to outsource your entire supply chain to a firm that can, in the short-term, help get your company on track and rebuild an efficient, long-lasting team.


Keep in mind that supply chain management is not a career path with a great deal of glamour. Ironically, it's a career that requires high levels of attention to technical skills, financial analysis, and strategic thinking. Still, it's not a profession that gets a lot of focus on career day.


If you are looking for that outsourcing partner to help you with Supply Chain challenges, please give SC2 a call at 303-883-3355 or mark.hampton@comcast. net


Mark Hampton is a successful "C" Level Executive with 40+ years of progressive experience managing the diversified and extensive supply chain and corporate restaurant functions. Mr. Hampton started his firm in December 2017. He quickly developed and built the business from start-up to generating 6-figure sales annually within the first year; established a strong account customer base of NRA's Top 200 restaurant owners and private equity clients. During his career, he managed the 7th largest full-service restaurant chain in the US, managing all Supply Chain functions with a total annual spend of 500M per year with eight restaurant concepts, three manufacturing facilities, 700 locations, 11k SKU's in 12 Distribution Centers, in 46 states and Guam.

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